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Industry News
Present And Future Developments In Lighting: Themes Of The Recent 2009 IES Annual Conference
December 3, 2009

More than 400 lighting professionals met November 15-17 in Seattle , WA for the 2009 Annual Conference of the Illuminating Engineering Society of North America ( IES ).  The theme of the three day event was “Realizing the Future—Research to Applications.”  Presenters focused on both recent developments and some of the big ideas that will affect the future of lighting.

The keynote speaker of the conference was Ken Alston, CEO of MBDC, a firm dedicated to transforming the design of products, processes and services. Rather than the traditional cradle-to-grave product lifecycle, Alton advocated a cradle-to-cradle cycle where materials are perpetually used in future products. Among the big ideas presented at the conference, Alston challenged the corporate mindset of incrementalism: “Doing less bad is not doing good,” he explained. In other words, simply reducing toxins produced through the usual manufacturing processes is nothing to take pride in.

There were four General Sessions at the conference.  The first was about Round 9 of the U.S. Department of Energy’s CALiPER testing program, which independently tested LED products. Full results of the program are available at www.ssl.energy.gov/caliper.html.  The second General Session involved a case study in lighting usage, reviewing the impressive energy savings over the past year at the New York Times building. Restorative Design was the topic of the third General Session, which emphasizes “contact with nature” as an alternative to the “experientially and aesthetically impoverished” designs found in some of the new sustainable buildings touting low environmental impact (e.g., low energy use).  The last Session focused on the importance of building design relative to its affects on human health and performance: building architecture must go beyond lighting intensity (the standard design tool) and add timing and spectrum of light.

Interspersed throughout the Conference were eight Paper Sessions. Topics ranged from sports lighting, roadway lighting, to daylighting controls and the shift from the incandescent to CFLs to LEDs, among others.  These Sessions offered attendees the opportunity to learn about some of the latest findings in lighting research. 

Complementing the research-based Paper Sessions were three Seminars that looked at the more practical side of lighting.  The first was about LED lighting in a residential setting.  The second provided an overview of one of the Society’s newest and most anticipated documents, DG-18-08, Light + Design: A Guide to Designing Quality Lighting for People and Buildings. (Information about DG-18 is available at www.ies.org/store.)  The third Seminar dealt with the benefits of retrofitting existing lighting installations: saving energy (thereby deferring new power plant construction), reducing transmission congestion and adding a time buffer for developing renewable energy sources.

Annual Awards were also given at the Conference, which will be covered in a separate announcement from the IES.

Each year the IES Progress Committee recognizes innovative product designs, services, trends and publications. In keeping with this tradition, the Committee presented the 2009 IES Progress Report to the Conference attendees. The Report will appear in the January 2010 issue of LD+A. 

Guest speaker Dayna Baumeister, co-founder of the Biomimicry Guild, closed the Conference at the IES Gala Dinner with a forward-leaning address on how the human species—a relative newcomer to the planet—can improve design by studying those other species with which we share planet Earth.

Conference sponsors were Acuity Brands Lighting, Cooper Lighting, Philips Day-Brite, GE Consumer and Industrial Lighting, Lutron, Litecontrol, OSRAM SYLVANIA and Philips. The 2010 conference is slated for Nov. 7-9 in Toronto.

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